Gaza Update: Israel Keeps Journos Out, Brings “New” Weapons In?
This morning, Israel allowed "367 Palestinians with foreign passports to leave the Gaza Strip Friday." They were allowed to leave through the Erez crossing and Israel had said it would allow journalists (8-12 of them only) to enter when Erez was opened next but:
Israel opened the crossing terminal Friday to allow several hundred Palestinians with foreign passports to leave Gaza, but kept reporters out.
. . . .
A military spokesman said Israel kept the journalists out because authorities at the crossing point were focused on processing the nearly 300 Palestinians exiting Gaza.
. . . .
The Erez crossing, which was expanded during renovations in recent years, has a large terminal designed to process thousands of people crossing in each direction daily.
Reporters without direct access to Gaza are less likely to raise questions about the level of civilian casualties and whether all who Israel claim are Hamas really are. B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, is calling for an investigation into at least one bombing. The video above has more details.
The ban on journalists also makes it harder to investigate claims like those made by a Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor with NORWAC. He reports that the aid Israel claims is reaching Gazan civilians is not being allowed in, and that the injuries seen possibly suggest the use of DIMEs:
Israelis are using a new type of weapon with enormous explosive power that is having a devastating effect on the body. Palestinian colleagues are telling us of complete amputations and bodies that are split in two. Also they have more than 100 severe burns among the 2000 injured. And most of these burns are more than 50% of the body surface and second to third degree. So these are very severe burns and extremely severe injuries caused by probably some new types of weapon, maybe the DIME weapon which are tungsten alloy weapons which are also radioactive. These reports have not been scientifically confirmed but there is absolutely reason to believe that they used the new weapons.
Israel was accused of using DIME weapons in Gaza in 2006 (h/t mis78). From a Ha’aretz report at the time:
According to the site, the projectile comprises a carbon-fiber casing filled with tungsten powder and explosives. In the explosion, tungsten particles – a metal capable of conducting very high temperatures – spread over a radius of four meters and cause death.
According to the U.S.-based website Defense-Tech, "the result is an incredibly destructive blast in a small area" and "the destructive power of the mixture causes far more damage than pure explosive." It adds that "the impact of the micro-shrapnel seems to cause a similar but more powerful effect than a shockwave."
Defense-Tech discusses the possible radioactivity of the weapons here. These weapons are still "experimental" but Defense-Tech notes that Human Rights Watch is concerned about their use in densely populated areas such as Gaza.
While polling shows broad support within Israel for the government’s actions, protests by Israelis also continue:
Twenty-one left-wing activists were arrested on Friday morning after blocking the entrance to the IAF base at Sde Dov airport.
The activists carried signs and chanted slogans against the Gaza operation, poured red paint on themselves and lay down on the ground at the entrance to the base before police forces arrested them.
Demonstrations are being held around the world today – including 3,000 in Afghanistan – for locations in the US you can find a list here.